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Editorial: A lack of leadership on Willmar council

The do-nothing faction within the Willmar City Council has decided it is acceptable to spend $25,000 for an organizational study and then simply do nothing.

Voting to do nothing by keeping the current city organization “as is” were council members Ron Christianson, Jim Dokken, Tim Johnson, Rick Fagerlie and Steve Ahmann.

If a city staffer recommended the city spend $25,000 for a organization study and then chose to do nothing, this faction would likely call for the staffer’s firing.

The City Council was considering organizational restructuring options for external services and internal services in the city organization. Each part had two options to consider. They chose to reject the external options and failed to even consider the internal services option.

Council members Denis Anderson, Audrey Nelsen and Bruce DeBlieck deserve credit for seeking to improve Willmar. They sought to consider the proposed options, choose a direction and move forward.

The City Council continually asks staff to seek out efficiencies within its organization and to do things differently. However, this City Council continually fails to follow its own advice or direction.

At the Aug. 20 committee-of-the-whole meeting, council member Christianson said the city has worked since he joined the council in 1994 and he sees no need for change. Christianson criticized “outside forces” within the city for “bullying” the City Council into doing an organizational study.

Christianson was completely out of line when he told council member Nelsen that with only eight months on the council … “how did (she) know what works” or doesn’t. That was unbecoming and disrespectful behavior on the part of a Willmar City Council member.

Yet he continually attempts to bully Nelsen, other city council members and/or staff with a condescending attitude when they have different opinions. That is not acceptable or professional behavior on his part.

In summary, Christianson basically believes the city of Willmar is perfect, cannot be improved and if any city resident, business leader and/or City Council member disagrees with him, that person is an “outside force” within this city. He apparently views the city as his kingdom.

Christianson should apologize for such behavior at the next city meeting.

This do-nothing faction continues to hurt the city of Willmar, its staff and its citizens with its lack of leadership that is bereft of foresight and laced with ideological dogma.

Citizens need to watch the recent city council meeting ( or other council meetings and then ask if this lack of leadership is acceptable for the city of Willmar.

It is a fair question.